September 17, 2003 - Bush Approval Levels Off, But Economy Is Big Concern, U.S. Voters Tell Quinnipiac University National Poll, Dem Voters Like Hillary, Not Gore
President George W. Bush is cruising along with a 53 - 39 percent approval rating and a comfortable lead over any likely Democratic challenger - including New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. This compares to President Bush's 53 - 41 percent approval rating in a July 24 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

In an early look at the '04 Presidential race, Bush tops all comers:
  • 53 - 41 percent over Gore;
  • 52 - 42 percent over Sen. Clinton;
  • 52 - 41 percent over Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman;
  • 53 - 38 percent of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry;
  • 51 - 39 percent over Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt;
  • 53 - 38 percent over former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
But American voters say 67 - 22 that the economy will matter more than Iraq in deciding how they vote for President. Voters disapprove 50 - 44 percent of the way Bush is handling the economy and say, 49 - 42 percent, that a Democratic administration will do a better job on the economy.

"Despite all the inside-the-Beltway chatter, the nation's voters still pick President Bush over any of the Democrats, as the President's approval holds steady," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"On issues, however, Bush faces the same problem that eventually beat his father in 1992. Far more voters say pocketbook issues - not Iraq - will sway their vote. And the economy is where the President and the Republicans get low marks," Carroll said.

Going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do, American voters say 58 - 37 percent. But they split 47 - 47 percent on Bush's proposal to spend $87 billion in Iraq.

Approval of Bush's handling of specific issues is:
  • 49 - 44 percent approval for foreign policy;
  • 56 - 38 percent approval for handling terrorism overseas;
  • 67 - 27 percent approval for handling terrorism at home;
  • 51 - 43 percent approval for handling the situation in Iraq;
  • 41 - 39 percent approval for handling the situation with Israel and the Palestinians.
Democratic voters say 53 - 43 percent that Gore should sit this one out.

If Clinton jumps into the race for the White House, she gets 45 percent of Democratic voters, followed by 9 percent for Dean, 8 percent for Kerry, as Lieberman and Gephardt each get 6 percent. No other Democratic contender tops 4 percent, with 14 percent undecided.

If Clinton stays out of the race, it's a four-way tie: Dean and Lieberman each get 14 percent of Democratic voters, while Gephardt and Kerry each get 13 percent. No other Democrat tops 7 percent and undecided gets 21 percent.

"Dean moved up into double digits in Quinnipiac University's July 24 poll. Now, with Sen. Clinton out of the race, it's a four-candidate wrestle among Democrats. The tiny electorates of New Hampshire and Iowa might have different ideas," Carroll said.

From September 11 - 15, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,228 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent. The survey includes 466 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and nationwide as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu or call (203) 582-5201

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 53% 87% 27% 52% 58% 50% Disapprove 39 8 65 41 36 42 DK/NA 7 5 8 7 6 8



2. Now I'm going to name nine Democrats who might run for president in 2004. After I read all nine names, tell me which one you would most like to see the Democrats nominate for president in 2004. Here are the choices... Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt, North Carolina Senator John Edwards, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Florida Senator Bob Graham, former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, or Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

                  DEMOCRATS......   
                  Tot   Men   Wom   


Lieberman 14% 12% 15% Kerry 13 13 14 Gephardt 13 15 12 Edwards 7 7 8 Dean 14 20 10 Sharpton 4 1 6 Graham 4 7 2 Moseley-Braun 7 5 8 Kucinich 2 1 2 DK/NA 21 19 22

3. Suppose New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton decides to run for president in 2004. Who would you most like to see the Democrats nominate for president in 2004? -- New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt, North Carolina Senator John Edwards, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Florida Senator Bob Graham, former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, or Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

                  DEMOCRATS......   
                  Tot   Men   Wom   


Clinton 45% 40% 49% Lieberman 6 5 6 Kerry 8 7 8 Gephardt 6 9 5 Edwards 4 4 4 Dean 9 14 6 Sharpton 1 1 2 Graham 2 3 2 Moseley-Braun 2 2 2 Kucinich 2 3 2 DK/NA 14 13 15



4. Would you like to see Al Gore run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004 or not?

                  DEMOCRATS......   
                  Tot   Men   Wom  


Yes 43% 44% 42% No 53 53 52 DK/NA 4 3 5



5. Suppose the general election for president were being held today, and the candidates were Al Gore the Democrat and George W. Bush the Republican for whom would you vote?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Gore 41% 6% 78% 37% 37% 46% Bush 53 93 18 53 56 50 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 - 1 2 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 - 1 3 2 1 DK/NA 3 - 1 5 3 3



6. Suppose the general election for president were being held today, and the candidates were Hillary Rodham Clinton the Democrat and George W. Bush the Republican for whom would you vote?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Clinton 42% 6% 76% 39% 37% 46% Bush 52 92 18 52 57 48 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 - 1 2 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 - 1 3 2 1 DK/NA 3 1 3 3 2 3



7. Suppose the general election for president were being held today, and the candidates were Joe Lieberman the Democrat and George W. Bush the Republican for whom would you vote?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Lieberman 41% 7% 74% 38% 38% 44% Bush 52 92 20 50 56 48 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 - 2 2 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 1 1 2 2 1 DK/NA 4 - 3 8 3 5



8. Suppose the general election for president were being held today, and the candidates were John Kerry the Democrat and George W. Bush the Republican for whom would you vote?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Kerry 38% 4% 72% 36% 33% 43% Bush 53 93 20 51 58 49 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 2 - 1 2 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 - - 2 2 1 DK/NA 6 2 7 8 5 6



9. Suppose the general election for president were being held today, and the candidates were Dick Gephardt the Democrat and George W. Bush the Republican for whom would you vote?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Gephardt 39% 7% 72% 37% 36% 42% Bush 51 92 16 51 54 49 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 2 - 2 3 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 1 1 2 2 2 DK/NA 6 - 9 7 5 6



10. Suppose the general election for president were being held today, and the candidates were Howard Dean the Democrat and George W. Bush the Republican for whom would you vote?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Dean 38% 5% 69% 36% 35% 40% Bush 53 92 20 51 55 50 SMONE ELSE(VOL) 1 - 2 2 2 1 WLDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 - 1 3 2 2 DK/NA 7 2 8 8 6 7



11. Thinking about the next presidential election, do you think George W. Bush should keep Dick Cheney on the ticket as vice president or do you think Bush should consider replacing Cheney with a different running mate?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Keep Cheney 53% 76% 39% 48% 56% 51% Replace Cheney 33 17 43 39 32 35 DK/NA 13 7 19 13 12 14



12. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in the nation today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very satisfied 12% 23% 4% 9% 13% 10% Smwht satisfied 38 61 18 36 40 35 Smwht dissatisfied 22 12 29 25 21 22 Very dissatisfied 28 4 48 30 24 32 DK/NA 1 1 1 - 1 -



13. What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Economy total 34% 27% 41% 34% 37% 31% Economy general 22 17 27 22 24 20 Unemployment/jobs 12 10 14 12 13 11

Terrorism general 15 23 10 15 17 14

War/Iraq 15 10 19 16 11 18

Foreign policy total 5% 3% 5% 7% 6% 3% Foreign policy general 2 - 2 3 2 1 Priorities should be at home, not abroad 2 1 3 2 1 2 Middle East 1 1 - 1 1 -

Healthcare total 4% 2% 3% 4% 2% 4% Healthcare/Costs/ Insurance/HMO's 3 2 2 4 1 4 Medicare 1 - 1 - 1 -

Politicians total 4% 4% 3% 4% 5% 4% Bush Administration 2 1 3 3 3 2 Political corruption 1 1 - 1 1 1 Politicians other 1 2 - - 1 1

Budget/Spending total 3% 4% 4% 2% 3% 2% Budget/Spending general 1 1 1 - 1 - Budget deficits 2 3 3 2 2 2

Education total 3% 3% 2% 1% 2% 4% Education general 2 2 1 1 2 2 Funding education 1 1 1 - - 2

Lack of ethics/Morality 3 7 1 2 3 3 Taxes general 1 - - 1 - 1 Poverty/Homelessness 1 - - 2 1 2 Immigration 1 1 - 1 2 - Lack of religion/God 1 2 1 - 1 1 Family breakdown/ Family values 1 1 - 1 - 1 Other 2 3 1 3 2 2 DK/NA 4 4 4 4 5 4



14. (If problem on q13) Who do you think would do a better job handling that problem - the current Bush administration or a new Democratic administration?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Bush 40% 77% 11% 35% 44% 36% Democrat 46 9 82 45 42 50 NO DIFF(VOL) 4 3 3 5 4 4 DK/NA 10 11 3 14 10 9

RESPONSE ON Q13......... Econ Ter War/Iraq

Bush 28% 74% 38% Democrat 58 21 52 NO DIFF(VOL) 5 1 1 DK/NA 10 4 9



15. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling -- the economy?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 44% 79% 17% 39% 48% 39% Disapprove 50 14 79 53 46 54 DK/NA 6 6 4 7 6 7



16. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling -- foreign policy?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 49% 83% 22% 48% 53% 46% Disapprove 44 13 71 45 42 45 DK/NA 7 4 7 7 5 8



17. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling -- the war against terrorism overseas?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 56% 86% 30% 57% 61% 52% Disapprove 38 11 63 37 32 43 DK/NA 6 4 7 5 6 5



18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling -- policies to prevent and minimize terrorism at home?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 67% 90% 46% 68% 71% 63% Disapprove 27 8 45 27 25 30 DK/NA 6 2 10 4 4 7



19. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling -- the situation with Iraq?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 51% 84% 22% 50% 56% 46% Disapprove 43 12 72 44 38 48 DK/NA 6 3 6 6 6 6



20. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling -- the situation between Israel and the Palestinians?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 41% 63% 25% 38% 46% 36% Disapprove 39 18 55 45 37 41 DK/NA 20 19 20 17 17 22



21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Dick Cheney is handling his job as vice-president?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 54% 79% 35% 50% 56% 52% Disapprove 30 10 46 33 30 30 DK/NA 17 11 19 17 15 18



22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Rumsfeld is handling his job as secretary of defense?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 60% 83% 38% 61% 65% 55% Disapprove 29 10 45 30 28 30 DK/NA 11 6 17 9 7 15



23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Colin Powell is handling his job as secretary of state?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 78% 90% 69% 80% 82% 74% Disapprove 14 6 21 15 13 16 DK/NA 7 4 10 5 5 10



24. Would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as: Excellent, good, not so good, or poor?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Excellent 1% 1% 0% 2% 1% 1% Good 29 53 10 29 36 23 Not so good 42 36 47 43 39 45 Poor 27 10 41 27 23 30 DK/NA 1 - 1 1 1 1



25. During the next 12 months, do you think the economic conditions in the United States will get better, get worse, or stay about the same?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Get better 38% 60% 22% 36% 47% 30% Get worse 20 6 30 18 19 20 Stay about the same 39 31 46 43 32 46 DK/NA 3 2 2 4 2 3



26. Which issue will matter more in deciding how you vote for President next year, Iraq or the economy?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Iraq 22% 29% 16% 22% 20% 24% the economy 67 60 75 67 71 64 DK/NA 10 10 9 11 9 12



27. Who do you think would do a better job on the economy - the current Bush administration a new Democratic administration?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Bush administration 42% 83% 10% 36% 45% 38% Democratic administration 49 10 86 50 45 53 NO DIFF(VOL) 2 2 - 4 3 2 DK/NA 6 5 3 9 6 7



28. Who do you think would do a better job on Iraq - the current Bush administration a new Democratic administration?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Bush administration 51% 88% 20% 48% 55% 47% Democratic administration 38 7 71 36 32 44 NO DIFF(VOL) 3 1 1 5 4 2 DK/NA 8 3 7 10 9 7



29. Do you think going to war with Iraq was the right thing for the United States to do or the wrong thing?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Right thing 58% 87% 34% 59% 63% 54% Wrong thing 37 11 59 37 34 39 DK/NA 5 2 7 4 4 7



30. Do you support or oppose the Bush administration's proposal for an additional 87 billion dollars mainly for the military operations and rebuilding in Iraq?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 47% 71% 27% 49% 54% 41% Oppose 47 26 66 46 41 52 DK/NA 5 3 7 5 4 6



31. When the Democratic party nominates its Presidential candidate, which quality do you think should be more important the candidate's ability to defeat George W. Bush or the candidate's views on the issues?

                          Dem 


Ability to defeat Bush 23% Views on issues 72 DK/NA 5